Are your business results falling short of expectations? Are you blindsided by hidden costs, disengaged employees, and unnecessary complexity? Are you sick and tired of fighting your competitors and internal roadblocks? Unless your strategy, culture, and operating model are synchronized, you are wasting time, alienating employees, and leaving money on the table.
Your strategy is your overall plan to win in your marketplace. You get to choose your marketplace and you get to define what makes up a win. The only reason a company might choose not to have a strategy is because they are comfortable in their position in their market. Having no strategy is a certain, slow death for a company, as the market will eventually consume you.
Your culture is the sum of the beliefs and behaviors your employees bring to work each and everyday. Therefore, Each company’s culture is unique. This culture is formed by the values lived and breathed by each employee every day on the job. I am not talking about the slogans hanging on the walls or the T-shirts. I’m talking the accumulated employee beliefs and behaviors coming to work every day. This is who you really are, your identity, the brand that your customers interact with.
- What needs to be done?
- Who does what?
- When does it get done?
- How will it get done?
These are your systems, processes, and procedures to deliver your strategy.
Now that we have defined culture, strategy, and operations, let me go back to my original question. Are all three operating in sync or not? For those companies not having your culture, strategy, and operations in sync, my next question is, ‘How satisfied have you been with your company’s growth and profitability over the past ten years?’ Then an obvious follow up question is, ‘What are you going to do about it?’
Whatever the current level of synchronization is between your culture, strategy, and operations, it doesn’t have to remain that way. The first thing that must change is, our mindset. We must begin to visualize our culture, strategy, and culture as the ‘life blood of our business.
When they are in sync, you can chart’ your course to achieve your company vision. When they are not in sync, your culture, strategy, and operations counter punch each other until the best man wins. How’s that working for you?
So, how do you get your culture, strategy, and operations in sync? Let me walk you through the process.
I need you to first visualize you culture, strategy, and operations as three intersecting circles. Each circle represents culture, strategy, or operations. I have numbered each of the intersecting areas within the intersecting circles. I need you identify which numbers sections, as described below, best describes how your culture, strategy, and operations are currently aligned? You are in one of the areas, which one? Be honest with yourself.
- Hobby/Toy – You have a great idea, but no clue what to do with it. (Don’t quit your day job.)
- Silo/Turf War Misalignment – Results when your culture and operating models are in alignment, but there is no common, overall strategy. Each unit/department creates and acts on the they have individually created for their selves. (Welcome politics, back stabbing, and game playing.)
- The Club – All you have is group of people who work together, like each other, and get along, but have no clue where they are heading nor how they will get there. (Frankly, they can care less, this is fun.)
- Everyone’s on board, I hope it works Misalignment – Results when your culture and strategy are in alignment, but you’re rolling the dice with operations, thinking, ‘It should work’. (You ‘roll out’ your new initiative, have your kick-off meeting, post your slogans, where your T-shirts, but don’t spend a dime on operations.
- Dream – You can see clearly in your head your idea. In your mind, you can feel it, touch it and see it being real. (But, you are the only one who sees it.)
- We decide, You Do Misalignment – Results when strategy and operations are in alignment and your culture is to just ‘follow along.’ (Ever wonder why your ‘initiatives consistently underperform?)
- Sustained Results – When your culture, strategy and operations are aligned: You know who you are, where you are going and how you will get there. (We’re all in this together, let’s make it happen. Then again, then again.
So what does strategic alignment look like?
- Embrace marketplace turbulence and consistently deliver your execution plans faster better and more cost effectively than your competition
- People excited to come to work
- Maximizing your return on your people, equipment, and capital
- Imagine: The resulting positive impact impact on profitability
- Imagine: Planting the seeds for your company’s future growth
- Imagine: Consistently beating competition ‘to the punch’
Can you really afford not to align your strategy, operations, and culture?